Although this era was not conducive to women working, let alone in such a field of expertise, Annie Jump Cannon excelled in her chosen profession and would even contribute to the women that followed in her footsteps by having an award named after her and awarded only to women.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact Sheet: Who was Annie Jump Cannon? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Annie Jump Cannon.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1863 - 1941 *** Full Name: Annie Jump Cannon *** Date of Birth: Annie Jump Cannon was born on December 11th 1863 *** Place of Birth: Annie Jump Cannon was born in Dover, Delaware, United States *** Occupation: American Astronomer *** Date of Death: Annie Jump Cannon died on April 13th 1941 *** Place of Death: Annie Jump Cannon died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States ***
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 1: Annie Jump Cannon was born on December 11th 1863 in Dover, Delaware, United States and would become an Astronomer.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 2: Family: She came from a family that was . The names of her parents were Wilson Cannon and Mary Jump. Her father was a shipbuilder and state Senator for Delaware and it was her mother who first introduced her to the stars and constellations. It would be her mother that would also encourage her to include mathematics, biology and chemistry in her studies. Siblings: She grew up with two sisters and as a child or adolescent she suffered impaired hearing ***.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 3: Education: She was educated at Wilmington Conference Academy. She was a very gifted pupil in particular in mathematics and would later attend Wellesley College in Massachusetts which was one of the top academic schools at the time for women. She completed her studies under Sarah Frances Whiting who taught her physics and when she graduated with her degree in physics she returned home.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 4: Prospects for women in this time were very limited and before she was able to actually enter the career she wished to pursue, Annie Jump Cannon travelled around Europe honing her photographic skills using a Blair box camera. Her pictures were published by the Blair Company in a pamphlet as a souvenir at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 5: Having contracted scarlet fever and coupled with the substantial loss of her hearing she was not a particularly social person and when he mother died in 1894 life at home for her became demanding. She wrote to Sarah Frances Whiting, her former tutor and enquired if there any job vacancies.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 6: Career: She began her career as a junior physics teacher. This position also gave her the opportunity to take further course in physics and astronomy at the college.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 7: Encouraged by Whiting to also study spectroscopy Annie Jump Cannon also enrolled at the Radcliffe College where she was able to continue with her astronomy studies. Harvard College was situated near Radcliffe in order that the professors from Harvard could repeat their lectures to the young women at Radcliffe.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 8: This being the case, Cannon was able to take advantage of the Harvard College Observatory and during 1896 she was hired as an assistant in the Observatory by Edward C. Pickering.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 9: In 1907 having completed her studies she graduated from Wellesley College with an M.A.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 10: Having become a member of “Pickering’s Women” which were what you were called if you were hired by Edward C. Pickering in order to complete the Henry Draper Catalogue which mapped and defined all the stars in the sky.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 11: The catalogue was named after the wealthy physician who had been an amateur astronomer and whose widow set up a fund to finance the continue work. The men in observatory where there to do the heavy work of operating the telescope and taking the pictures while the women examined and catalogued the data.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 12: With the data they collected they were able to classify the stars but it would soon become apparent that they needed to establish a way to classify the stars when Nettie Farrar who had been the analyst left to get married.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 13: You were then left with Antonia Maury, the niece of Henry Draper and Williamina Fleming arguing over how to classify their findings. Antonia wanted to use a complicated method while Williamina was in favor of a far more simple means of classification.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 14: Annie Jump Cannon negotiated between the two a compromise that led to the mnemonic of “Oh Be a Fine Girl, Kiss Me” in order to remember the spectral classes of O, B, A, F, G, K, M.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 15: In 1901 Annie Jump Cannon published the first stellar spectra catalogue.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 16: It was generally viewed that the women were supposed to be housewives and should not even be working as assistants but this was generally the highest position a woman could aspire to. However, Annie Jump Cannon had no husband or children and so was able to devote a huge amount of her time to her work, which was something she enjoyed enormously.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 17: Having devoted most of her life to her work she classified more stars than anyone else with around five hundred thousand entries.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 18: During her years of star gazing she also discovered around three hundred variable stars, a spectroscopic binary, five novas and began creating a bibliography that would include around two hundred thousand references.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 19: The International Astronomical Union on May 9th of 1922 passed a resolution that formally adopted Annie Jump Cannon’s stellar classification system and it is still in use today although there have been minor modifications made over time.
Annie Jump Cannon Fact 20: Annie Jump Cannon died on April 13th 1941 in Cambridge, Massachusetts aged seventy seven years. Her body laid to rest at the Lakeside Cemetery in Dove, Kent County, Delaware.
Influence & Legacy: Her influence would help women become respected and accepted within the scientific community. In 1934 the first Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy was presented to Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and is awarded to a woman studying astronomy, who is residing in the North of American and who is within five years of achieving a Ph.D.